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Road ends for Pioneers

REFTON—Saturday’s PIAA, Class AAA field hockey quarterfinal between Conestoga and Hershey featured two of the very best high school players in the state of Pennsylvania. The Pioneers’ Charlotte deVries and the Trojans’ Maddie Zimmer can both be found on USA field hockey’s U-17 national team roster.

In this particular game, it was Zimmer that had the hot hand, while the Trojans kept deVries in check, subjecting the talented ‘Stoga junior to double and triple teams all day. In the end, it was Hershey that earned the slot in Tuesday’s semi-finals, ending the Pioneers’ season with a 4-0 defeat.

“Hershey is a very good team,” said Conestoga coach Kerry deVries. “One thing we weren’t used to seeing was they always made us stop the ball all year on a free hit situation. At least put a cap on it before you go. Today they were just letting you go right away. It was just different officiating from a different region of the state.”

Zimmer kicked off the scoring just over a minute into the game, rocketing a shot in from the left side of the circle to put Conestoga in an early hole. Zimmer struck again with her second goal just before the end of the first half, and then rounded out a hat trick with 6:53 to play.

“Zimmer had a very good game,” said deVries. “She’s a very good talent, and really played well for them today.”

The Trojans tacked on one more score in the game’s waning moments, with Korryn Kehler finding the back of the cage on an assist from Baylee West.

The Pioneers had their chances. The two teams were equal one penalty corners, with seven apiece, and Hershey held a slim margin in shots on goal at 13-10. They just couldn’t slip one in past Hershey goalie Kit Olmstead, who finished the night with ten saves—the same total as Conestoga goalie Ali Showers.

“Building a program is a process,” said deVries. “And theirs wins included in the process, and losses are part of the process. Kids grow and learn through sport through wins and losses. And as much as everyone wants to be the last team standing, there’s only one team that will be state champ. This is a great group of kids, and they will keep some great memories from this year.

For the second straight season, the Pioneers won the Central League, played in a District title game—winning district championship last season–and won a game in the state tournament. Hardly an unsuccessful year by any stretch of the imagination. And those are the memories the graduating seniors will take with them.

“Conestoga field hockey has been one of the best experiences I have had in high school,” said Kiley Allen, who will be continuing her field hockey and academic careers at Harvard next year. “You win games, scoring goals, and getting accolades from the newspaper is nice, but it doesn’t compare to the friendships we’ve made. This will be like family for life.”

Hershey 2 2 –4
Conestoga 0 0 –0
Goals: Zimmer (3), Kehler
Goalie Saves: Olmstead (H) 12 Showers( C ) 12

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